While browsing some research today, I came across a rather interesting piece on the history of Jews in baseball. I thought some people might enjoy it. We normally just talk about Greenberg and Koufax, while ignoring, out of not knowing everyone else who helped build the game. Somehow, this situation reminds me of the early days of rock music. Many of the early song writers were teams of Jewish kids from Brooklyn, and many forget that. And many of us never knew just how much Jews helped to build baseball into the National Game. Maybe this can help correct that omission. Let's see if we can name as many as we can. Enjoy.
History of Jews in Baseball
Greenberg, Koufax and Company
by the Encyclopedia Judaica (CD-ROM Edition)
Jews early developed an interest in baseball, which had its origins in the 1840s. Lipman E. (Lip) Pike became baseball's first professional in 1866 when he played third base for the Philadelphia Athletics at a salary of $20 per week. In 1882 Louis Kramer (1849-1922) helped organize the major league American Association, and was its president in 1891. Aaron S. Stern (1853-1920), a clothing merchant, was a co-founder of the American Association and owner of the Cincinnati Reds in 1882-90. The Reds won the first American Association championship in 1882. Other officials of the Cincinnati club included Edgar Mayer Johnson (1836-?), secretary, 1877-80, and Nathan Menderson (1820-1904), president, 1880. Jacob C. (Jake) Morse (1860-1937), who became a noted sportswriter, was manager of the Boston team in the Union League in 1884. Barney Dreyfuss, president of the Louisville Colonels in 1899 and owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1900-32, founded the World Series in 1903. One of the game's most controversial owners, Andrew Freedman (1860-1915), a lawyer and a power behind New York City's Tammany Hall, was president of the New York Giants in 1894-1902. Louis W. Heilbroner (1861-1933) managed the St. Louis Cardinals in 1900, and nine years later founded baseball's first statistical bureau. Harry (Judge) Goldman (1857-1941) was an organizer of the American League in 1900, and with the Frank brothers, Moses and Sydney, served as an official of the Baltimore club in the new league in 1901-2.
Besides Pike, the outstanding players prior to 1900 were William M. (Billy) Nash (1865-1929), a third baseman who played in the major leagues for 15 years, and a member of pennant-winning teams in 1890 (Boston, Players League) and 1891-93 (Boston, National League). He managed Philadelphia in 1896; James J. (Chief) Roseman (1856-?), an outfielder with the New York team that won the American Association pennant in 1884. He managed the St. Louis club in the same league in 1890; and Daniel E. Stearns (1861-1944), first baseman on the Cincinnati team that won the first American Association championship in 1882.
Players who gained success in the major leagues after 1900 included Henry (Hank) Greenberg, the first Jewish member of the Baseball Hall of Fame; pitching great Sanford (Sandy) Koufax, voted Baseball Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s; Albert (Al) Rosen (1924- ), third baseman, American League home run champion in 1950 and 1953, he was voted the league's Most Valuable Player award in 1953; Erskine Mayer (1891-1957), a pitcher who won 21 games for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1914 and 1915; George R. Stone (1876-1945), an outfielder for the St. Louis Browns who won the American League batting title in 1906; Barney Pelty (1880-1939), pitcher, compiled a 2.62 earned run average in a ten-year (1903-12) American League career with the St. Louis Browns and Washington Senators; Benjamin M. (Benny) Kauff (1890-1961), outfielder, was the batting champion of the Federal League in 1914 and 1915, and a member of the National League champion New York Giants in 1917; Charles Solomon (Buddy) Myer (1904-1974), an American League infielder with Washington and Boston for 17 years, played in the 1925 and 1933 World Series, won the League batting title of 1935, and compiled the lifetime batting mark of.303; Lawrence (Larry) Sherry (1935- ), pitching hero of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1959 World Series, was a major league player for 11 years; Arthur (Art) Shamsky (1941- ), a major league outfielder since 1965, equaled the major league record of four home runs in four consecutive times at bat with the Cincinnati Reds in 1966, and in 1969 batted .300 when the New York Mets won their first World Series; and Kenneth D. (Ken) Holtzman (1945- ), a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs since 1965, who pitched no-hit games in 1969 and 1972.
Also Sidney (Sid) Gordon (1917-1975), 1941-43, 1946-55; Harry Danning (1911- ), 1933-42; Saul Rogovin (1922- ), 1949-53, 1955-5 7; Samuel A. (Sammy) Bohne (Cohen) (1896- ); Andrew (Andy) Cohen (1904- ), 1926, 1928-29; Calvin (Cal) Abrams (1924- ), 1949-56; Morris (Morrie) Arnovich (1910-1959), 1936-41, 1946; Harry Eisenstat (1915- ), 1935-42; Harry Feldman 20(1919-1962), 1941-46; Myron (Joe) Ginsberg (1926- ), 1948, 1950-54, 1956-62; Morris (Moe) Berg (1902-1974; Moe Berg, Athlete, Scholar, Spy by L. Kaufman, B. Fitzgerald and T. Sewell (1974) reveals that Berg, an outstanding linguist as well as baseball player, was a member of the U.S. Intelligence and undertook espionage in Japan and Germany. During World War II he worked for the Office of Strategic Services (O.S.S.)), 1923, 1926-39; Barry Latman (1936- ), 1957-67; James (Jim) Levey (1906-1970), 1930-33; James Hymie (Jimmy) Reese (Soloman; 1904- ), 1930-32; Jacob (Jake) Atz (1879-1945), 1902, 1907-09; Goodwin (Goody) Rosen (1912- ), a Canadian, 1937-39, 1944-45; Philip (Mickey) Weintraub (1907-1986 ), 1933-35, 37-38, 1944-45; Norman (Norm) Miller (1946- ), 1965-; Michael P. (Mike) Epstein(1943- ), 1966-, and Steven M. Stone, 1971 played big league ball. Jacob A. (Jake) Pitler (1894-1968) was an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates (1917-18) and a popular coach for the Brooklyn Dodgers (1948-57), and Alexander (Al) Schacht (1892-1984), pitched for the Washington Senators (1919-21), was a coach for the Boston Red Sox and became known as the "Clown Prince of Baseball." Albert D. (Dolly) Stark (1897-1968) and Allen S. Forman (1928- ) were National League umpires.
Baseball executives of the modern era included Judge Emil E. Fuchs (1879-1961), owner and manager (1929) of the National League Boston club in 1923-35; Leo J. Bondy (1883-1944), vice-president of the New York Giants, 1934-44; Sidney Weil (1891-1966), owner of the Cincinnati Reds, 1930-33; William Benswanger (1892-1972), son-in-law of Barney Dreyfuss, president of the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1932-46; Harry M. Grabiner (1890-1948), vice-president of the Chicago White Sox, 1939-45, and part-owner and vice-president of the Cleveland Indians, 1946-48; Henry (Hank) Greenberg, vice-president and general manager, Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox, 1948 to 1963; Gabriel H. Paul (1910- ), vice-president and general manager of the Cincinnati Reds, 1951-60, and president and general manager of the Cleveland Indians since 1961; Jerold C. Hoffberger (1919- ) helped return major league baseball to Baltimore in 1953, and has been the principal owner of the Orioles since 1965. He was the president of the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation in 1961-63; Marvin Milkes, general manager of the Seattle (1969) and Milwaukee (1970) teams of the American League; Allan (Bud) Selig, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers since 1970, and Charles R. Bronfman, established major league baseball in Canada in 1969, and is chairman of the board of the Montreal Expos and the club's principal owner.
In 1972 Sandy Koufax, former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, became at the age of 36 the youngest player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
With the pitching help of Ken Holtzman the Oakland Athletics of the American League won the World Series in 1972-74. Holtzman won 21 games in 1973. He retired in 1979 after a successful 15-year major league career.
Harold (Lefty) Phillips (1969-71) and Norman Sherry (1976-77) managed the American League California Angels. In 1978 former major leaguer Al Rosen succeeded Gabriel (Gabe) Paul as president of the New York Yankees who joined the Cleveland Indians in the same capacity. Rosen resigned as president of the New York Yankees in 1979 and was named general manager of the Houston Astros the following year. From 1985 to 1992, the year he retired from the position, Rosen was president and general manager of the San Francisco Giants in 1992. Owner Bob Lurie sold the Giants in 1993.
Pitcher Steve Stone helped the Baltimore Orioles win the American League pennant in 1979. The following year Stone won the Cy Young Award as the outstanding pitcher in the American League with a 25-7 record. Stone (1980) and catcher Jeff Newman (1979) of the Oakland A's represented the American League in the All-Star Game.
Jerold Hoffberger continued as president of the Baltimore Orioles after he sold the club in 1979. New owners of major league teams in 1980 were Fred Wilson, New York Mets; Walter Haas, San Francisco Giants; and Jerry Reinsdorf, Chicago White Sox.
Hank Greenberg, the first Jewish player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, died in 1986. His son Steve Greenberg served as the deputy commissioner of baseball in 1989-93. In 1992 Alan (Bud) Selig, owner of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, was named chairman of baseball's executive council and given the authority to act as commissioner.
Marvin Miller, who had served as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association since 1966, retired in 1983.
The Encyclopedia Judaica CD-ROM contains all the text of the original 16 Keter volumes, the eight yearbooks and the two Ten-Year update volumes. In addition it includes many statistical updates and an interactive time-line. The CD has over 2500 pictures, 100 maps, slideshows, audio, and fifteen minutes of video.